A 17,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track, a rock-climbing wall, batting cages and golf hitting bays — these are just a handful of the features adding excitement to the new experiential retail concept — House of Sport from DICK’S Sporting Goods.
The first-ever DICK’S House of Sport opened its doors on April 9 in the Rochester suburb of Victor, N.Y. This 100,000-square-foot location — the largest-ever DICK’S store — is one of two House of Sport stores the retailer will be launching in 2021; the other will open later this spring in Knoxville, Tenn. The retailer will use the stores as research and development labs to test new concepts and ideas that can then be applied to inform strategies across its more than 700 stores nationwide.
As the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is nearing, the company is leaning into experiential concepts to engage shoppers and athletes in new ways. “DICK’S House of Sport looks and feels very much like a DICK’S Sporting Goods store, but is designed to explore the future of retail,” said Toni Roeller, SVP of In-Store Environment & Visual Merchandising at DICK’S in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We think that the future of retail will have a big experience component, especially when you are talking about sports. People want to swing a bat, try a golf club, touch a fabric, try on a shoe. They can do all of that at House of Sport, plus be able to use the experiences in the store — the track, treadmills, social fitting room — to make sure they are really comfortable with their purchases.”
The House of Sport concept was inspired by four key pillars, now brought together under one roof for the first time: product, service, community and experiences. The store features multi-sport experiences inside and outside, broad integration with the community, elevated customer service that will rely on passionate and skilled employees, and enhanced technology for ease of connection with the brand. “Providing experiences inside and outside the store for our athletes is one of our main focus areas,” Roeller said.
Track, Field, Baseball, Golf and Rock Climbing
The crown jewel of the experience might just be the 17,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track, which is attached to the store and allows for product trials as well as serving as a space to host local events. In the winter, the track and field will transform into a skating rink. Other interactive highlights include an indoor 30-foot-tall rock-climbing wall (which can be booked in advance online), batting cages for baseball and softball with HitTrax technology, virtual golf driving bays with TrackMan simulators and a putting green.
The store also includes the company’s first-ever “House of Cleats” — a 360-degree shopping experience with seasonally rotating product, showcasing up to 350 cleats across all sports. There also is a health and wellness space to help customers with recovery and well-being, which includes nutritious juices and food sourced from a local vendor, as well as vitamins, yoga gear and other wellness products. A consolidated service area helps shoppers with breaking in gloves, stringing lacrosse sticks and building/repairing bikes.
Lastly, the store will offer best-in-class athletic and outdoor apparel brands, a vast selection of footwear, the latest gear for team sports and top-of-the-line equipment for golf and fitness.
“Our vision was to maintain the heritage of DICK’S Sporting Goods, while featuring new and exciting elements that we could test within this concept location,” Roeller said identifying some of the most exciting elements of the store design:
- A clearstory to bring in natural light and highlight the climbing wall;
- New, fully flexible fixtures and signage to allow teammates to update and adapt merchandising strategies efficiently;
- An elevated fitting room experience for athletes; and
- Built-in digital technologies designed to allow DICK’S to engage with athletes in a new and different way.
Expanding and Upgrading Stores Across the Country
This April, DICK’S also is expanding its nationwide footprint with two Warehouse Sale stores and experiential Soccer Shops in select locations, nine newly redesigned Golf Galaxy stores, and expanded technology offerings in 54 additional Golf Galaxy locations in select cities across the country.
DICK’S Sporting Goods Warehouse Sale locations will offer deep discounts on footwear and apparel brands with hundreds of items 70% off or more.
The redesigned Golf Galaxy stores will offer golfers of all levels an immersive experience, with access to TrackMan and BioMech golf technologies, state-of-the-art hitting bays, custom fittings, golf lessons from Class A Certified PGA and LPGA Professionals, and equipment, apparel and footwear from top golf brands such as Callaway, TaylorMade, PING, Titleist, Nike, adidas, Under Armour, PUMA and more. The retailer will open additional remodeled locations later this year.
DICK’S Soccer Shops, which opened on April 5, offer a high level of service from in-store soccer experts who are specially trained to help customers find the equipment they need and the right fit for their cleats. The Soccer Shops will feature a variety of updated in-store elements, including an elevated cleat shop, licensed jersey cubes and soccer trial cages in select locations.